Neil Peart joined Rush in 1974 and it was fundamental part of the evolution for their sound and lyrics, since he had a very distinctive way of playing and also was a very prolific lyricist. He sadly passed away back in 2020 at the age of 67 after years battling cancer.
In an interview with Kelly Barrett (Transcribed by Blabbermouth), his sister Nancy Peart Burkholder talked about his passing and how the family prepared for what happened. Until this day Neil Peart is considered one of the best drummers of all time and was Rush’s main lyricist.
Neil Peart’s sister talks about her brother’s death
“We had three and a half years to prepare, so we knew it was coming. And then once it happened, we had that week of radio silence where we couldn’t tell anybody. And then we got — I think we had 10 minutes notice before it was going live to the world.”
“So we had 10 minutes to tell everyone that we hadn’t told in three and a half years that, ‘Sorry, we lied. Everything’s not okay.’ So, yeah, it was a really hard — that week was the hardest week that we went through because we knew and couldn’t share it.”
She then recalled what was like when the information about his passing was shared to the world:
“Oh, our messages were blowing up. My daughter finally turned her phone off. She’s also a musician. She’s in the (music) world. And she actually wrote a song that week called ‘Radio Silence’ because we were under radio silence. It played at ‘A Night For Neil’ (memorial event which was held in October 2022 at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada).”
“It was incredible. So, yeah, it was a very surreal week. But that 10 minutes was, like… I can’t even remember who I called in that 10 minutes. Everybody I knew, well, I had to message them all at once, ’cause we knew we had 10 minutes.”
“And then just as one of my best friends got my message, it was on the radio. And then all of them, of course, were getting called because their families all know the connection and that — the same thing — had 45 years with him, technically. So, yeah, it was a shock that went around the world, that’s for sure,” Nancy Peart said.